As children so often we were planning Christmas morning by August (yes August!); driving our mother mad at the idea when she had so many other things
to do. I can remember discussing the “schedule” with Elizabeth on when we going to get up Christmas morning and who was to start when. Elizabeth and I are five years apart and in the early years we shared a room. Time would pass, school would start, the County Fair would begin, which would distract us from our Christmas game plan. Then of course, would come Halloween and Thanksgiving and then; dundadadum! The actual count down begins and Santa will arrive!
Christmas was always a wonderful Winter Wonderland in our home, mother made sure of that. We weren’t very rich, monetarily, but we were in so many other ways. Many would say we were poor as church mice, only we children never knew it. Some how mother made sure that Christmas was alive in our home. I can remember going to sleep at the sound of the sewing machine almost every night between Thanksgiving and December 23rd. Come Christmas morning, Elizabeth and I were usually the first up; however the rule of the house was: NO one is to ENTER the living room until ALL are up (especially MOTHER). Now we were allowed to go in to the kitchen, but you had to walk by the living room and, even so, we were NEVER to even LOOK in the living room.
Now Elizabeth usually would deputize me as her spy and give me the assignment of going into the kitchen. Walking to the kitchen was on the ‘ok’ list, but while walking to the kitchen all I could remember is the rule “Never to even LOOK in the living room.” Tell a child that and you’re asking for trouble…. So, I tiptoed out across family room and just peeked a quick peek as I went into the kitchen; then another quick peek on my way back (perhaps I could get a better view), Santa came! There were gifts all over the place. I had to go quick to report back to mission control (Elizabeth).
What wonderful memories we four have of our childhood, especially our Christmas’. With the death of our father at such a young age (only 39) his brothers were very generous as well. So, although they never let on to us children, I’m sure they played a large role in our Christmas treasures. As I wrote in my last post, Christmas packages come in all shapes and sizes, but sometimes it’s not the dollars spent, mostly it is the thought behind the gift.
This year I was unable to go to Santa Fé to be with my sister, Elizabeth, due to back problems. I was alone, and she ended up shipping the gifts to me. Now, we were only to be sending each other ‘stocking stuffers’, but I received three or four packages! I called Elizabeth to thank her and to let her know that hers was on its way and to nicely scold her. This was too much! But she assured me that I would understand once I opened them.
I also received a surprise package from my cousin Clair on Christmas Eve. I was truly spoiled, and felt overwhelmed with love. As was tradition, I opened one gift on Christmas Eve, it was a beach towel; hilarious! A pink flamingo beach towel! Then on Christmas morning, Tula and I went out for our morning walk, she gave me her usual ‘gift’ that I bagged and dumped in the doggy poo bin and made some tea and started unwrapping stocking stuffers. How wonderful. Some of the gifts that were from Clair were hand-made ornaments, some were of the Wise Men and Camels and the Star (like what my mother had made) made by my Aunt (Clair’s mother). Another of her gifts were ornaments that my mother made; I cried such tears. What treasures… The fire in February had taken all those ornaments away from me and I never thought I’d see them again.
Elizabeth found an old piece of stitchery that our mother had done back in 1953 called the History Of Transportation, I remembered it as in this old frame and looking a bit shabby… this was reframed and looked so beautiful! Among her other packages was a framed picture of Kimball, her Senior High picture and a picture of the four of us (our mother and we three daughters) that was taken at our brothers wedding; I simply Love that picture. Another was a picture that Kimball purchased during one of her trips to China; there were three and she gave one to David and me and kept one for herself. Again, I was overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness and the generosity of my sister. Her heart is huge indeed.
As children we were taught that life was precious. It was unfortunate to have lost our father at such a young age, but, when you really look at it, it was a great gift for it taught us that we were family and, as such, we were all we had and must always make the most of it. Mother would constantly lecture us on the importance of family and the importance of taking care of each other and being there for one another. I think she would be proud for we have continued to fulfill that responsibility.
Yes, Santa outdid himself this year so very much. As children we look forward to the bikes, the dolls, the latest trinket on the market. But as we grow older and life has sanded away the rough edges, we start to realize just how precious memories are. The ornaments that mother made, framed pictures of lost loved ones, cookie cutters made from patterns used by our mother when we were children. Those are the things that really touch our hearts and truly bring back the meaning of this wonderful season. Also, there are friends that bring over homemade chicken soup and drop it by your door; completely unexpected and so endearing. I am truly loved and this Christmas was proof of that. Happy Holidays Everyone; my wish for you is that you can find your joy in the moments and see the treasure in the little things.
- The best present ever… (lovesweetandsinister.wordpress.com)
- Christmas Morning! (violetkim.com)